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Located on W. Drake Rd. in Ft. Collins West of Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

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Home » Your Eye Health » Conditions » Pingueculae

Pingueculae

Signs and symptoms of pingueculae

In most people, pingueculae cause few symptoms. However, a pinguecula that is irritated might create a feeling that something is in the eye – called a foreign body sensation. In some cases, pingueculae can become swollen and inflamed, a condition called pingueculitis. Irritation and eye redness from pingueculitis usually result from exposure to sun, wind, dust, or extremely dry conditions.

Treatment of pingueculae

The treatment for pingueculae depends on the severity of the growth and its symptoms. Everyone with pingueculae can benefit from sun protection for their eyes. Lubricating eye drops may be prescribed for those with mild pingueculitis to relieve dry eye irritation and foreign body sensation. To relieve significant inflammation and swelling, steroid eye drops or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be needed.

Surgical removal of the pinguecula may be considered in severe cases where there is interference with vision, contact lens wear or normal blinking.

Frequently, pingueculae can lead to the formation of pterygia.

Pterygia

Pterygia (singular form = pterygium) are wedge- or wing-shaped growths of benign fibrous tissue on the surface tissue of the sclera. Because pterygia also contain blood vessels, they are considered a fibrovascular growth. In extreme cases, pterygia may grow onto the eye’s cornea and interfere with vision.

Because a pterygium is usually quite visible to others, a person who has one may become concerned about their personal appearance. As with pingueculae, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun may play a role in the formation of pterygia.

Signs and symptoms of pterygia

Many people with pterygia do not experience symptoms or require treatment. Some pterygia may become red and swollen on occasion, and some may become large or thick. This may cause concern about appearance or create a feeling of having a foreign body in the eye. Large and advanced pterygia can actually cause a distortion of the surface of the cornea and induce astigmatism and blurred vision.

How pterygia are treated

The pterygia may be removed in a procedure room at the doctor’s office or in an operating room setting. A number of surgical techniques are currently used to remove pterygia, and it is up to your eye doctor to determine the best procedure for you.

After the procedure, which usually lasts no longer than 30 minutes, you may need to wear an eye patch for protection for a day or two. For uncomplicated surgery, you should be able to return to work or normal activities the next day.

Unfortunately, pterygia often return after surgical removal. In fact, the recurrence rate can be as high as 40%. To prevent regrowth after the pterygium is surgically removed, your eye surgeon may suture or glue a piece of surface eye tissue onto the affected area. This method, called autologous conjunctival autografting, is safe and lowers the chance of the pterygium growing back. After removal of the pterygium, steroid eye drops may be used for several weeks to decrease swelling and prevent regrowth.

It is important to note that pterygium removal can also induce astigmatism, especially in patients who already have astigmatism.

 

As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community. We will follow their recommendations and close our office to regular eye exams until further notice.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent issues as well as help you with routine matters during this challenging time.

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination our office will contact you to reschedule
2) If you need to replace glasses or contact lenses and need an extension on your prescription, please contact us and we will assist you in obtaining some until you can come in for a visit.
3) If you are running out of medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.
4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call us at 970-221-4811.
5) If you have an issue that cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a FaceTime, Skype or telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.
6) During this period of social distancing and quarantine, we must all do our part by restricting activities outside the home except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
7) Please remember that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve within a week. However, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, call ahead before visiting your doctor’s office or emergency department and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

We have asked our staff to stay home until further notice to protect them, our patients, our city, our nation, and our planet. Despite the financial and emotional hardships this will cause, we ask every one of you to do the same.

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health, we remain at your service,

Eyecare Associates